Unwanted Trauma Memories - How Do You Get Rid of Them?

April 23, 2014 Michele Rosenthal

Unwanted trauma memories are so hard to get rid of, aren’t they? Learn why and what can help deal with those traumatic memories.

Unwanted trauma memories are soooo hard to get rid of, aren’t they? You try to ignore them, suppress them, pretend they don’t exist or didn’t really happen. But they persist with more determination than ants discovering an untended picnic spread. This means that a trauma memory can hang in an activated loop that makes it feel like threat continues and the experience is present. And then what happens? Whew, PTSD and fatigue, for one thing!

Memory is important when it comes to PTSD and integration, so I decided to ask a pro about all of this – and what can be done about it. Dr. Michael Smith, of Life Extension Magazine, outlined for me fascinating information about the brain, the processing of memories, and how one simple supplement can help improve brain function in areas hugely important for trauma recovery.

How The Brain Develops and Recalls Trauma Memories

When I spoke to Dr. Smith I asked how the brain processes memories, especially trauma memories. This is what he explained:

The brain is so complex. There are over 100 billion nerve cells in the brain. Each nerve cell will make millions of different connections to other cells. This is an important part of the process of developing connections that form memories are allow us to recall them. We know from this that it’s in this area that we need to focus in order to help the brain store and access memories better.

A lot of times we think that losing memories, not being able to think right, that mental fogginess of trauma… we used to think it’s the nerve cell itself that was having the problem – we now know that’s not the case. It’s the synaptic decay. In the synapse is where those connections are made. When those nerve cell connections break down and when they’re not healthy connections, or you have a connection going in the wrong way, that’s when we lose memory or we have bad memories. We know that magnesium plays a major role in those connections.

I asked Dr. Smith what can be done about these broken synapses and he offered a suggestion that is both relatively low-cost and highly holistic, both things I love in the posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) recovery process. He said,

Over time fearful reactions can dissipate when the triggering event is experienced in a safe environment. Animal studies reveal that magnesium L-threonate enhances this process so that events which previously caused an emotional response no longer trigger fear. Magnesium L-threonate helps the prefrontal region of the brain block the return of old fear memories.

We think it does that by restructuring those information highways. That frontal part of the brain is really the important part here. We know that when there’s a lot of bad traumas, whether it’s not just physical traumas, even emotional scarring there are a lot of changes that go on in that front part of the brain. If you look at someone’s face straight on that’s the frontal cortex, and then the prefrontal cortex dips down in the skull. That’s where many memories are maintained.

Novel Magnesium Compound Reverses Neural Degeneration

If the brain is all about connections, synapses, and how they convey information, and if the degeneration of those connections causes problems, I asked Dr. Smith to explain how those connections can be restored:

The whole idea of brain deterioration – nerve degeneration – plays a role in PTSD and trauma. The best we can do is focus on how that damaged nerve cell is making that connection so that thought processes can be better controlled. Synaptic decay causes memory issues, but we can enhance it and restore functioning. Magnesium L-threonate allows damaged cells in the prefrontal cortex to make the connections they’re supposed to make, which enhances the normal ones and takes down the ones you don’t want.

Further, what we’ve learned is that Magnesium L-threonate not only helps restructure the proper connections it can even break down some of those connections that you don’t want. When you are faced with trauma, whether it’s chronic physical stress, abusive relationships, emotional, spiritual, whatever that trauma might be (and we all experience that on some level), there are changes that go on between the frontal cortex and the emotion centers in the brain which are a little bit deeper. Magnesium L-threonate is a special form of magnesium that gets into the brain and modulates and reconnects the proper connections between the front part of the brain and the emotional centers.

Stories and examples make it so much easier to learn, so I asked Dr. Smith to give one – and he did; a really personal one, too:

Everyone, no matter who you are, in a sense every brain, begins to breakdown as if they’ve undergone trauma. Let me give you an example: If you look at someone with even mild Alzheimer’s disease, which is a loss of those connections we’re talking about is that they retain the longer term memories and they tend to be the more emotional memories. I had a grandmother from Greece and they had to leave Greece pretty quickly right after WWII because they were worried about the Russian communists coming in. She retained that memory. Before she passed away with mild Alzheimer’s she would look out our window and be looking for the Russian soldiers coming. So, it’s interesting that she lost the normal connections but she retained the emotional connections.

Even as the normal person ages the brain really loves to connect to those emotional centers. So, the effect of Magnesium L-threonate is to take your brain back to when you’re a little younger and has the more normal connections so you’re not overwhelming the emotional centers. In addition, it helps you retain the normal connections for normal, everyday memory recall. The brain is really about connections not just nerve cells and their health.

Of course, there are many ways to begin using your brain (and body) in PTSD recovery. Also, there are many approaches to healing PTSD and relieving unwanted memories. Plus, there are many holistic things to try. Magnesium L-threonate is just one idea, but the science behind it is compelling in terms of how it blends into other ideas about neuroplasticity and how to help your brain recreate its ability to function in healthy, flexible and productive ways.

Michele is the author of Your Life After Trauma: Powerful Practices to Reclaim Your Identity. Connect with her on Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and her website,

APA Reference
Rosenthal, M. (2014, April 23). Unwanted Trauma Memories - How Do You Get Rid of Them?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Author: Michele Rosenthal

Jotaro Kujo
June, 23 2017 at 2:13 pm

This is meaningless if you have D.I.D stacked on top of P.T.S.D

Ron Schlegel
July, 10 2014 at 5:14 pm

There is real hope for people with PTSD. I am a psychotherapist who has been practicing for over 30 years. I am familiar with traditional methods for treating PTSD and alternative forms of treatment such as EMDR and EFT or Tapping. In the last year I have been working with Veterans with PTSD and seeing wonderful results. I am so impressed with the results I am seeing I am trying to get the word out about PSYCH-K. It is a very simple and effective method for disconnecting the emotional trauma from the memory of the event. This is done on a sub-conscious level. You can learn more at PSYCH-K international website: I am currently offering PSYCH-K via phone or Skype.

Betsy Wetzig
May, 2 2014 at 10:47 pm

The whole brain and body deal with events I our lives. Mental memories are just part of our reactions.
My work includes Psyche-Soma Dynamics and Coordination Pattern™ Training. Organizing our Psyche-Soma Dynamics are the core neuromuscular pattern connections between our mind and body…. ……Our Coordination Patterns: They coordinate the way we move and the way we move and the way we move with the processes of our brain/mind. Thus they function in our style, Jungian personality type, life stories, and actions. They are at the core of our being, and behavior and can be easily seen, understood, and experienced when paired with Jungian and Depth psychology, active dreaming, our childhood stories, personal myths, ritual, nature, the arts, and Coordination Patterns™ “Breakthru” Training. Working with me on Psyche-Soma Dynamics is Dr. Mary Alice Long – Creator of Play=Peace™, Play-based Depth-oriented psychotherapist and coach; Writer, Speaker-Performer, and co-host of “Creativity in Play” Blog Talk Radio.
You can check out my work at I am the originator of Coordination Pattern™ “Breakthru” Training, Co-author of Moves For Greatness: Focusing the Four Essential Energies of a Whole and Balanced Leader, Choreographer/Dancer, Educator and co-originator of Full Potential Learning and Psyche-Soma Dynamics. Also Check out to see our upcoming workshops and webinars.

April, 26 2014 at 8:17 pm

How does the brain block memories? And how do you unlock them? Without a doctor. I have hardly ANY memories. A few really bad ones. Broken arm at 3. Puppy killed at 4.
I have no idea who I was. How I was. Anything.
I just wonder how and why I have blocked memories.

Mozaffar rouhani
April, 25 2014 at 11:32 am

Thank you , in my country there are a lot of PTSD person after 8years IRAQ -IRAN war.

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